Nov 1, 2021
For many years, one of the traditions Alan brings to his radio show each Halloween, is a dramatic reading of Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart. The story is very short and simple. It is only a few pages long. In it, an unnamed narrator is recounting his tale to some unknown audience. He opens asking why would anyone think he is mad? In the narrator's mind, because he can vividly remember the details of his activity and his crime, it should make him sane. He goes so far as to say his senses were all acute, especially his hearing.
As the tale unwinds, we learn about an old man with a blue film over one eye. It's that eye which makes the narrator eventually decide the old man must die. What follows is a painstaking telling of how long it would take to creep into the old man's room, night after night. Then, one night, the opportunity is right and the deed unfolds. However, after hiding the body and the evidence of the crime, police knock on the door.
All appears well since the man believes he has been too clever to be caught. But, at such a late hour and after all of the night's activity, he finds himself suddenly hearing the sound made by a watch, enveloped in cotton. He realizes the old man's heart is still beating and nothing he can do can make the sound stop. It grows louder and louder until finally the narrator, plagued by his own guilt, confesses the crime to the officers.
Alan started the tradition of doing a simple live read. Then, after a few years, added some basic sound effects to supplement the tale. This rendition is the most complex to-date, combining ambient music, sound effects and a new reading of the story. The hope was to make it feel like a piece of radio theatre, where the listener can sit back, listening, as the story plays out to the imagination.
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